Sunday, 8 June 2014

Recipe: Winter Perfect Pumpkin Soup


Each spring we plant a little vegie patch in a purpose-built garden bed in our back yard.  I just love my vegie patch ... it's great education for the munchkins, a great outside activity for them with the weeding, preparing, planting, watering and then harvesting and it's such an achievement to grow something yourself that can then be fed to the family.  While we're by no means self-sufficient on the vegie front, it is nice to think that at least for one season of the year our vegie supply is well-supplemented from our own garden.  Here's a little bit of what we picked from our garden last summer.

Anyway, each year we seem to have one type of veg that does better than everything else.  Last year was definitely the yellow zucchinis ... check out this whopper that Bethany picked.  It weighed over 3kg!

This year, it's been the season for pumpkins.  Thankfully most of our vegie crops have now finished for the season, because Mr Pumpkin has decided to take over the whole garden, and our investment into 1 tiny pumpkin seedling has now multiplied into about 20 or maybe more pumpkins, at different stages of readiness. And with winter here and the weather cooling significantly over this last week, what else to do with pumpkins than to make Pumpkin Soup.

My soup recipe is based (albeit loosely) on the soup I've watched my Mum make as long as I can remember.  Here's how I do it:

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6, depending on how big-a-bowl you eat!!)
- 1 fresh pumpkin - any variety will work.  My pumpkin was about 10" in diameter.  If yours is much bigger than that, maybe add an extra stock cube for a bit of extra flavour.
- 1 tsp (small dash) olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 chicken stock cubes (salt reduced) or 2 cups of liquid stock if you prefer that
- 1-2 cups of skim milk
- Ricotta Cheese / Sour Cream / Labna to serve

Method:
1.  Roughly dice your onion and place it in a large saucepan with a dash of olive oil and fry it off quickly, just until the onion becomes transparent.

2. Remove the skin and seeds from your pumpkin and cut into an even dice, then add it to your saucepan with the onion.  I cut mine in about a 1 inch dice ... it cooks nice and quickly.

3.  Add some water, until it just starts to cover the pumpkin like this, then also add 2 salt-reduced stock-cubes (If you prefer liquid stock, just use 2 cups of liquid stock, then top up with water until there is enough liquid to almost cover the pumpkin).

4.  Place the pot over high heat until the water starts to boil, then put the lid on, turn down to medium heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is nice and soft.
 It will start to break down a little and look something like this once it's cooked.

5.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the soup to cool for about 5-10 minutes,  then blend until it's smooth.
 I like to use a stick-blender, but if you don't have one, a regular blender will work fine.  You might need to blend it in batches to avoid an overflow!

6.  Then add your milk, and mix well until the milk is completely combined.  You can adjust the milk quantity based on how thick or runny you like your soup.  I like mine reasonably thick!

7.  Now to decide how to serve it ... take your pick from some sour cream, ricotta cheese or my new favourite, some labna.  Daddy and I had a recent weekend away to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.  We went to the Hunter Valley, a beautiful wine region of NSW, and we came across this amazing Labna at a local cheese producer.  'Yum' doesn't even cover it ... it was so good ... yep, WAS ... it didn't last long in our house!



Anyway, to serve, heat the soup for a few minutes over low heat (don't let it boil) then ladle it into a bowl and top with your topping-pick and a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives.  A crusty bread-roll or a generous slice of sour-dough bread really completes this too!

Yum ... I might just pick another pumpkin and get another batch of this loveliness underway!  Oh, and this soup freezes fantastically well.  I love to freeze it in single portions, then simply heat it on the stove or even in the microwave for a quick, yummy and healthy winter-warmer lunch.

Hope you enjoy!!

5 comments:

  1. If you want a change of flavour, use coconut milk or cream, or even add a little curry powder. You've remembered the recipe well!!!

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    1. Thanks Anonymous ... aka Mummy's Mummy! Mmmm I remember when you made it with coconut milk. That was delicious!

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